Judge: Accused NSA leaker can see classified information in her trial

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Judge: Accused NSA leaker can see classified information in her trial

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Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Reality Leigh Winner leaves the federal courthouse in Augusta after her bond hearing on June 8. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

The suspect in the National Security Agency leak investigation will be allowed to see classified information used as evidence in her trial under an order recently issued by a federal judge in Augusta.

In his six-page ruling this month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps said Reality Winner, 25, will be permitted to inspect the sensitive records in a secure area, so long as she signs a memorandum of understanding barring unauthorized disclosure of them. 

Those records, according to Epps order, could include intelligence reports, government network audit logs, FBI reports calls “302s,” a government agency’s email correspondence and internal security report, written and recorded transcripts of a June 3 FBI interview with Winner and some of her handwritten correspondence. 

Winner, Epps wrote in his order, is “subject to the court’s authority, contempt powers, and other authorities, and shall fully comply with the nondisclosure agreements she has signed, this order, the MOU, and applicable statutes.” 

Before Epps issued his order, Winner’s defense attorneys had argued she could be blocked from getting a fair trial if she were not permitted to see such evidence under the rules federal prosecutors proposed to safeguard top-secret information in the case. 

The government has accused Winner of leaking to The Intercept online news outlet a top-secret NSA report about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. A federal grand jury has indicted her on a single count of "willful retention and transmission of national defense information.” She has pleaded not guilty.

Gary Davis and Billie Winner-Davis, stepfather and mother of Reality Leigh Winner, spoke to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on about who their daughter really is. Video by Hyosub Shin/AJC
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